With unimaginable pain …

And as the steroids ended and my body struggled to fix itself I understood what pain and starting over truly felt like.

Steroids made me relearn how easy it is to take our body for granted. The simplest thing like taking a straight step became a chore and my body hurt in places I didn’t know could hurt at all.

But with that came respect. I began re learning movement, the joy of getting one step right– I can do about 5 now and the absolute joy of even one second of no pain.

It also made me re look at where I was and who I wanted to be and I realised with great joy that I had become the person I’d dreamed of becoming… the person in ‘if (by Rudyard Kipling)’ who learns to start over without a moment’s hesitation, who keeps on going and who is inspirational. And I was proud.

In life we all get our own personal struggles, it’s how we deal that makes us the people we are.

The weekend had 2 blocked veins – I equate it to 2 long client meetings. I had so much pain… I equate that to crazy work stress that we all often deal with. And I had sleepless , painful nights that I compare to the delays we face in work done and appreciation received.

And then I got the flu on a day we had a long, much awaited for Client meeting and woke up in a personal hell of pain and sickness. I put my ego aside and asked for help and with the strength that can only come from family (i.e. Mom), I was able to semi-recover and power on to a fabulous and rewarding day.

We all have a choice- every day, to either get up and roll with the punches or go to sleep and wait for another day. The new day may be brighter or duller- but a dull day can always become bright- it’s up to you to wake up and do the best you can with it.

We don’t get just one chance to make the day a better day. We get numerous chances. So why waste it? I was told numerous times I was doing too much and needed to recover and much as I agreed… I knew I was also getting a second chance at making things right and doing things over and re-learning.

And as much as every day hurt, I would have hurt more if I hadn’t tried.

So I get up and fight another day knowing that the world and my life is worth fighting for, knowing that it’s both the ups and downs that makes life worthwhile…and it’s because of the downs that the ups are even more special.

And so I’m off to a party filled weekend with tons of laughter and joy knowing that this will drown out the fuzziness and pain and illness and even happier that I have another day to recognise the power and awesomeness of the life we get to live.

P.s. (Palat says)-: It shouldn’t take illness or pain or steroids to learn to value all that we have… but sometimes its a good push in the right direction.

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Sometimes we all need steroids…

It was a leap of faith- this was what the entire week seemed focussed on. On Tuesday I was told that in all likelihood my MRIs were false negatives and I would need to be put on to an immediate dosage of steroids! This is the first time this has happened since 2005 and naturally I was extremely worried about this. Another attack of multiple sclerosis seemed overwhelming not just for me but for my whole family. Wouldn’t I get better naturally? The pain has been worsening for over 6 months now and has been really bad for more than a few years and now I was walking like the Leaning tower of Pisa (if it could walk); so may be I should trust the good doctor’s expertise and take the leap of faith by taking treatment no matter how scary it seemed.

Sometimes you have to trust yourself and the people around you.

It seemed like I needed a bit more than faith and chocolate ice cream when the Nurse who came home couldn’t find my veins .She did try in three injection points and I held on to faith till she twisted the needle so hard it hit a nerve and I just saw black all around.

Must I actually do this? I asked Aditya as we now then decided to do this at the hospital. ‘Well, if you want to feel better, it’s the only way- ‘ he said. So the 5 days started and well I’m going to hope the pain is better and the walk a little straighter. I am going to feel better. I will. I have to.

A friend dropped in, having given up a steady job , he seemed worried about reactions around him.

He’d lost joy.

I know sometimes that (joy) seems such an elusive concept, but I do believe that we all have the power to search , nay the responsibility to find our joy. It is only when we know how to find joy can we truly live our best lives. It is only if you know how to be joyous , that you can truly inspire and give happiness. Responsibilities must be fulfilled but it should never be at the cost of joy. This world can be such an incredible place, it is up to us to find at least one thing that brings us happiness/joy every day.

I used to make that a task every day because I didn’t know how to find it! Now I do this out of habit. There’s always at least a few moments that give me absolute joy, if not more every day and it also keeps me grateful.

Just FYI it’s Masterchef and trashy TV shows that keep me happy thru the hour long injection… see even in that there can be joy.

P.s. (Palat says)-: The leap of faith can be terrifying… much like when I jumped off a plane to sky dive… but its only when you jump that you truly experience freedom and complete joy.

Live the Moment

We all believe we live in the moment but I have to be honest most do not! Unless you go through something life changing, you don’t even recognise how long or how powerful a moment can be. This is true. A moment really counts when my arm hurts so bad tears stream down my face or when the husband holds me apologising for the arm pain which he didn’t even cause-the MS did!

Most people just turn up in their lives. They make a guest appearance. You go to your 9-5 or 10-6 job and you just count the hours so you can leave and go back and do another mindless thing you won’t give yourself to.

You shouldn’t have to have MS or a brain tumour or nearly die or do something equally dramatic to care about your life! You can be the hero- the star of your own story- shouldn’t you use your potential to do that

With those I work with and those I’m friends with , this is what I try and enforce

  1. Do one thing- but do it well, else don’t even start.
  2. In a conversation with me , lets both look at each other and actually listen.
  3. A job is not 8 hrs, it can be 1 hr or 2 hrs as well- it’s just about applying yourself when you work
  4. Do something- one thing every day that you absolutely love and be present during that moment.
  5. Have one conversation every day- not on the phone but face to face. Make sure it’s honest and be absolutely involved in the conversation.
  6. When you are doing your job- make that the most important. When you are with your family- make that the most.
  7. Be true to yourself, even with new people. People will either like you or not but you can’t live your life acting like someone you are not.
  8. You are the star of every day. Your film stars you. Make a it a film you’d like to watch. Be proud of you.
  9. This won’t happen easily- there’ll be many times where you are not even present during a work day or a boring family dinner. Stop, reboot, refresh!

I write this because I see so many who just turn up in their lives and never actually show up and enjoy it. We get one chance, (even if we believe in rebirth and after life) to be the best version of ourselves- to be a part of a film called our life. Wouldn’t you want a blockbuster? I do!

P.s. (Palat says)-: Its the husband’s birthday weekend this weekend so stay tuned for soppy posts and mushy , unwritten love letters!

The Relationship Saga

And in a world more connected than ever, most people find themselves more disconnected than they have ever been. We can connect on WhatsApp, Social media, the phone- all the time and yet in this fast paced world though we’re always seeming to be connected we’re often more alone than we have ever been.

This was the discussion a girl friend of mine and I had for more than a few hours this week. And it wasn’t even the first time I had heard this complaint. It was far too often, from far too many people for this to be a coincidence.

Connection requires work. Connection requires commitment and Connection requires both parties to keep at it!

And when I felt the same way a few years ago.. I set out to make a Commitment Cheat Sheet… to help me keep and nurture relationships that meant something to me…

So here’s a peak-:

  1. Make a list of just the closest friends (CFs) you’d like to have in you life and make sure you call or meet them once every 2 weeks at least.
  2. Do Date night. Even if you’ve been with your husband for tons of years…date him, reconnect. The only thing constant is change- so both of you will keep changing. Get to know the new him.
  3. Be social. Get out at least once a week with one set of your CFs so you can do a face to face reconnect.
  4. Laugh more. Play games rather than watch TV. Connect, talk and have fun with your friends. TV is a wonderful medium for stories but real stories happen only when you actually participate in them. Be a part of your own life story not a spectator.
  5. Put a schedule together which forces you to challenge yourself to connect. Make it a routine, till it becomes a habit.
  6. Find common hobbies/ activities. I hate the morning walk… or actually hate getting up at 5 am… but the plus is I get a leisurely coffee chat with the uncrabby husband (he’s a morning sparrow, I am not) and a walk where we find tons of puppies and lots to chat about.
  7. Be present. Your CFs have something major happening in their life/ they aren’t well- check up, be present- care.
  8. Don’t look at your phone during dinners/ events. Respect the person/people you are with.
  9. Give yourself a break. All relationships change. Some change so much they become unrecognisable. Try as hard as you can, but remember sometime you need to let go. Reward yourself when you try. Don’t berate yourself.

Relationships are hard and connections even harder. In a world of a few billion- you just need a handful of connections but even those take work. Remember, it may look easy from watching a good relationship but both people work very hard with many off days to make that work. Instagram and Facebook stories are just that- stories. They are not reality.

P.s. (Palat says)-: At the end of the day, all the fame and money make for comfortable beds and homes but homes are only homes when you can fill them with people you love.

To My Bullies…

And the city was rocked when a promising young Doctor took her life because of harassment and bullying by her fellow seniors. It put into perspective the fact that bullying was something that was accepted. People had seen her being bullied but nothing had been done. If it doesn’t happen to you- we adopt the ostrich mentality- we don’t see it!

And these bullies cost her what could have been a fabulously successful career, a happy marriage and a wonderful life.

We shame them now on social media and in the papers but it’s too little too late. When we see bullying we more often than not turn a blind eye to the issue unless the issue is us.

And then there’s the hidden bullying- the trolling where faceless , nameless bullies feel it’s okay to shame you. And we can all pretend that these people are cowards and that their words don’t sting- but truth be told-we might all have a witty , caustic reply- but to put it plainly- it’s just mean. It’s mean to bully. It’s mean to gang up on people. It’s not just cowardice. It’s downright nasty!

And is that who we’ve become? Are we so dissatisfied with our lives that we think it’s okay to hurt others? Are we that full of ourselves that we think it’s okay to critique others? Are we that hurtful, prideful and egotistical?

So here’s to all my bullies, I didn’t say anything then and it’s taken me time-but I now have my answer-:

  1. To those who pulled my pigtails and made fun of my plaits- my hair is even cooler now because I looked after it then! Most of you have lost hair or have none. Guess it isn’t so funny now?
  2. To those who called me a nerd- I was a nerd. Still am. Nerds are cool. I own it! It also helped me get admission at Stanford and more than a few Ivy Leagues- so ….
  3. To those who made fun of my crushes and teased me, it’s because I was open to love that I found love.
  4. To those who mocked my choice of profession – I get to wake up and do something I love every day. How many of us are actually that lucky?
  5. To those who made fun of me and how I look post my illness- I was left side paralysed after my first multiple sclerosis attack and have a brain tumour and I still do more than most. And am hotter than most- still.
  6. To the “fan” who wrote to me last week criticising and taunting me for looking different from my 17 year old self…. well you probably look a heck of a lot different from yourself 20 odd years ago…. and well read Point 5!

I didn’t get to sit with the cool kids then. I got bullied and laughed at. It hurt then. And often , when idiots like my “fan” wrote, it hurt now. I’d like to believe that I am stronger for the bullying- but honestly I’m just a little more jaded, a little more complex, a little less trusting, a lot less nice.

I’ve now rid myself of most of the complexes and I hope one day I and we can all rid ourselves from the bullies.

I forgive myself for hurting. One day I hope to forgive you.

But most of all I know that I will never be a bully and most importantly if I see someone being bullied, I promise myself- today and forever- I will stop it.

P.s. (Palat says)-: Don’t mourn my obituary. Make a difference to my life while I’m alive.


I’m never gonna be who I thought I would

All through our lives we’ve been taught to make a difference, do more, be more!

And then it gets to a point- and here may be it’s the impending Birthday Me talking, where you worry- have I actually achieved what I was supposed to have… or was it all just castles in the sky created by my indulgent, loving parents (who btw are throwing a birthday dinner for me tonight- so yay!)… so I decided to take stock!

Well I started out right, topped school, went to Stanford and then I left Stanford prematurely to start acting. Interesting choice!

I started doing films, and started a Production house. One film became seven; the production house put on some truly memorable plays. Each play made me learn to give back to society and be really grateful as to where I was.

I got sick, got Multiple Sclerosis, was told I wouldn’t move but Docs ain’t got nothin on my stubbornness! So up I was and back at work!

I wrote and here I shall boast a bit (allow me, it’s my blog) a truly exceptional play where we toured the world, won numerous World Awards and gave lots of money to a cause I truly supported.

I found a tumour in the pituitary in my brain- didn’t waste a second ,started another company and an Not for profit charity, moved offices.

I have directed TV, commercials, digital, short films and anything that has a story- I have learnt to tell.

I have loved one dog with all my soul and another takes up my heart.

I see my family regularly and it’s still not enough; spend every waking moment I can stalking my husband, who annoys me , infuriates me, challenges me, engages me and loves me.

I’ve not done anything I planned to do when I was a child- but I’ve done so much more than I dreamed of. I’ve lived a life that I couldn’t have imagined because you can’t write lives like mine…

I may not be who I was but I am so excited to see who I will become…so as I countdown the days to my birthday…I’m going to celebrate who I have become with all those who’ve made me who I am on this crazy journey we call life.

P.s. (Palat says)-: You may not be where you think you want to be; but you are exactly where you are supposed to be right now!

Sour Puss & Kotak Mahindra Bank

So off to the bank we went. Adulting is hard even when you are older. It seems everyone and here, by everyone you really mean your parents,- can do stuff way better than you! How they got so good at fixing everything is beyond me… but I decided let’s give it a try and handle some bank work on my own!

It seemed simple enough… we were paying money back to a bank- an absolutely unheard concept for most but since the amounts weren’t sufficient for us to do a Mallya or Modi and buy a new citizenship, rant about the fact that we ‘wanted to pay a debt back’ on twitter and afford a mansion in Europe- I figured let’s get out of debt. So off we were to Kotak Mahindra Bank, and sitting in front a sullen woman , who seemed unhappy that work was being given to her on a day she’d rather eat lays and glower. My chirpy (yes that happens occasionally) attitude annoyed her and she moved us away from her line of vision and then recommended (and I use the word kindly) that we leave. But we want to pay back a debt , we informed her. Well, the paper work was going to be an issue- i.e. she hadn’t printed them out yet , so may be we could take our selves out and come back later. While we changed schedules around to accommodate her, a gentleman who looked worn and tired brought paper work to her. “That’s it , right Ma’am, I’m done? Loan free?” Sour puss (my name for her) glared at him as if he’d broken the system by doing his own printouts and then grudgingly said yes. We congratulated him but the poor man was almost in tears– ” it’s been so hard…. just to give them the money and close the loan ,” he said.

And that’s when I realised. Every day we have a choice- a choice on how we are viewed. This man had probably taken a loan for his dream home. Today should have been the happiest day of his life- now that his home was finally his and yet she chose to make it hard on him. Instead of being his supporter, his cheerleader and his helper- she chose to vilify herself.

We get a choice every single day to make an impact on someone’s life- to make a difference. That difference can be either negative or positive- but the choice is solely ours.

Your life impacts others. Your choices impact them. Your behaviour impacts them. We can’t live selfishly unless we’re in a box. When you converse with someone don’t just turn up- actually show up. Be present and be aware of your impact.

So what happened to my interaction with Sour Puss? Well she pushed us out of the branch and we returned (more because of that gentleman’s warning). She remained sullen and upset when we now had done the hard job of print outs for her. She made us sign all the wrong sheets for her own record and had to then spend the next day coming to our office and correcting all her mistakes.

She made an impression on me but like the gentleman earlier- she made a terrible one. But she also inspired me to start being present during my interactions with people because I want all those that I meet to feel that I am present and that I want to be there. In a terribly negative situation, I learnt something…though more often than not I wish you could just learn life lessons from fortune cookies… not miserable encounters 🙂

P.s. (Palat says)-: Be grateful for the people you meet. Learn from them- not just what to do but what never to do.